For The Fallen Dreams - Back Burner (Rise Records)

Melodic hardcore from Michigan isn't full of surprises, but does it really need to be?

I'm not entirely sure what the distinction is between melodic hardcore and metalcore. Listening to Back Burner, the third studio release from For The Fallen Dreams, bands such as Atreyu, Parkway Drive and A Day To Remember all immediately spring to mind (although this may be down to the fact that former ADTR guitarist Tom Denney mixed the album). There's also a hint of As I Lay Dying during some of the heavier numbers, particularly My Anthem-Like Symphony.

Opening with the incredibely Killswitch Engage-esque Say What You Will, it's easy to make a snap judgement on Back Burner and assume you are going to be listening to 12 songs of "been there, done it" metal. And to be fair, you'd be absolutely spot on. Back Burner is a relatively generic album. There's a consistent mix of chugging breakdowns, harsh verse-clean chorus arrangements and the archetypal crowd singalong insertions. This is an album that has been written for metallers between the ages of 15-25 who are more than happy to fund Bring Me The Horizon's front man Oli Sykes' clothing line Drop Dead. The male fans will be more than happy to straighten their hair and wear jeans tighter than their actual skin. The girl fans will all have a copy of the Twilight Saga in their Tim Burton-influenced backpacks, and the two will sit in a park drinking cheap cider whilst listening to Back Burner on a pair of cheap speakers. But that's absolutely okay with me. 

All too often bands take it upon themselves to change the world of music as we know it by creating increasingly oblique sub-sub-sub-genres in which to place themselves. With Back Burner, For The Fallen Dreams are simply playing metal that appeals to the masses in the 21st century. Dylan Richter and Jim Hocking's joint vocal approach is predictable but thoroughly enjoyable, and Hocking's guitar work, supported by rhythm man Kalan Blehm and bassist Jordan McPherson, is neither groundbreaking nor disappointing. Arvin Sarathy does a solid job behind the drums and all in all, the chaps put together a solid musical performance.

If your most recent purchases are the latest Vomitory, Hate Eternal and Wormrot albums I cannot stress how much you should avoid Back Burner. But if you aren't afraid to admit that every now and again, it's okay to throw on a pair of purple-chequered Vans and have a bit of an angsty singalong, this is a well worthy purchase.

Back Buner is out now on Rise Records